Cause Lawyering

Cause Lawyering : Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities

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Why do some lawyers devote themselves to a given social movement or political cause? How are such deeds of individual commitment and personal belief justly executed, given the ideals of disinterested professional service to which lawyers are (in theory, at least) supposed to adhere? What can we learn from such lawyers about the relationship between law and politics? Cause Lawyering is a wise and varied collection of responses to these questions, featuring a number of distinguished legal scholars concerned with anti-poverty lawyers, lawyers who work against capital punishment, immigration lawyers, and other lawyers working to end oppression. Editors Austin Sarat and Stuart Scheingold have assembled here a valuable cross-national portrait of lawyers compelled to sacrifice financial gain so as to use their legal skills in the promotion of a more just society. These telling and important essays fully explore the relationship between cause lawyering and the organized legal professions of many different countries-the US, England, South Africa, Israel, Cuba, and so forth. They describe the utility of law as a resource in political struggles and, conversely, highlight the constraints under which lawyers necessarily operate when they turn to politics. Some provide broad theoretical overviews; others present rich case studies. Advancing a fundamental argument about the very nature of the legal profession, this book explains the strategies that cause lawyers deploy, as well as the challenges they face in trying to be legally astute and effective while remaining politically devoted and aware. Although it is a controversial way of practicing law, cause lawyering, as explicated in the essays in this volume, is indeed indispensable to the legitimization of professional authority.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 570 pages
  • 155.2 x 232.9 x 38.4mm | 875.86g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • references
  • 0195113209
  • 9780195113204
  • 2,003,634

Review quote

"Very strong....There is not a bad essay in the collection; some of the essays are strikingly fresh and original. The range of essays, extending to cause lawyering in various undeveloped societies and contrasting these with the liberal societies of the West, is especially impressive. The essays are, on the average, so much better than anything else in their field that they set a new standard for the study of cause lawyers....A first-rate collection...there is nothing I know of in print that approaches it in quality and breath."-Robert Gordon, Yale Law School "Cause Lawyering is a comprehensive, transnational description and analysis of lawyers who put social goals ahead of client considerations. In elegant and provocative terms, Professors Sarat and Scheingold and their colleagues tell us what cause lawyers do, who they are, why they are committed to social causes, and what they accomplish. These lawyers, frequently working at the margins of legal systems and rarely well-paid, are the true statespeople of the legal profession and it is fitting that their efforts be analyzed by such an accomplished and thoughtful group of sociolegal scholars."-William L. F. Felstiner, Distinguished Research Professor of Law, University of Wales, Cardiff "Cause Lawyering offers a fascinating collection of empirical and theoretical work on a topic of considerable importance. This book also provides a set of tools and organizing principles that should reinvigorate both national and comparative studies of what has become a neglected sector of the legal profession-those trying to improve the lives of the disadvantaged."-Bryant Garth, Director of the American Bar Foundation This is a fascinating and important book. Fascinating because it examines a wide variety of situations in which lawyers have sought to use their professional skills to further political goals, to "do good", at least by their own lights. Important because it documents the stuggle of lawyers in several countries to vindicate human rights and to assert the rulke of law in the face of repressive regimes in varoius shades. * Peter Kunzlik, Nottingham Law Journal Vol 8(2) 1999 *show more

About Austin Sarat

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. He has written and edited many books and articles on the theory and practice of law, including Race, Law, and Culture (OUP, 1997) and Divorce Lawyers and Their Clients (OUP, 1995). Stuart Scheingold is Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of The Politics of Street Crime (1991) and The Politics of Law and Order (1984), among other books.show more

Table of contents

Cause Lawyering and the Reproduction of Professional Authority: An Introduction ; CONTEXTS AND CONDITIONS OF CAUSE LAWYERING ; The Causes of Cause Lawyering: Toward an Understanding of the Motivation and Commitment of Social Justice Lawyers ; Speaking Law to Power: Occasions for Cause Lawyering ; The Struggle to Politicize Legal Practice: A Case Study of Left-Activist Lawyering in Seattle ; CAUSE LAWYERING AND THE ORGANIZATION OF PRACTICE ; Norris, Schmidt, Green, Harris, Higginbotham & Associates: The Socio-Legal Impact of Philadelphia Cause Lawyers ; Still Trying: Cause Lawyering for the Poor and Disadvantaged in Pittsburg, PA ; Critical Lawyers: Social Justice and the Structure of Private Practice ; Destruction of Houses and Construction of a Cause: Lawyers and Bedouins in the Israeli Courts ; STRATEGIES OF CAUSE LAWYERING UNDER LIBERAL LEGALISM ; Rethinking Law's Allurements: A Relational Analysis of Social Movement Lawyers in the United States ; Caring about Individual Cases: Immigration Lawyering in Britain ; Between (the Presence of) Violence and (the Possibility of) Justice: Lawyering against Capital Punishment ; THE POSSIBILITIES OF CAUSE LAWYERING BEYOND LIBERAL LEGALISM ; Cause Lawyering in the Third World ; Lawyers' Causes in Indonesia and Malaysia ; Attorneys for the People, Attorneys for the Land: The Emergence of Cause Lawyering in the Israel-Occupied Territories ; Cause Lawyers and Social Movements: A Comparative Perspective on Democratic Change in Argentina and Brazil ; All or Nothing: An Inquiry into the (Im)Possibility of Cause Lawyering under Cuban Socialism ; REFERENCESshow more

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